I sense that there is a certain fatigue around the topic of time management.
I remember a time in the early 1990’s when productivity tools were all the rage, and you wouldn’t be caught dead without a DayTimer, FiloFax or Dayrunner folder equipped with custom tabs from Staples or Office Depot.
These weren’t entertainment devices, communication gadgets or portable search engines. They were designed for productivity… and that was it.
Nowadays, the buzz around smartphones has little to do with productivity and time management, and more to do with stuff like connecting with your friends using Facebook Places and upping your score in Cityville.
Sexy? Absolutely. Productive? Not really.
Most of the articles related to the topic of time management consist of “Quick and Easy Tips,” “Top 10 ShortCuts…” and “Simple ways to gain two extra hours each day.” We want our time management like our fast food. Quick. Cheap. Filling. Instant.
Unfortunately, for those who are really interested in improving their skills there is little of substance, and little that’s new. The market for instant time management tips has been saturated with books and websites touting hundreds of instant, effortless tips.
The get-rich-quick mentality has infected time management with its promise of fast results with little or no investment, risk or effort.
It’s the reason why so many companies are giving out Blackberry’s as the solution to issues of productivity. If your employees are complaining because you have each of them doing the work of three people, then “Let em eat cake!” Buy them a Blackberry, and that will be enough to do the job.
Those who are serious about improving their time management skills are tired of the tips and tricks, and aren’t looking for another gadget to buy. They are already weary of these “solutions,” even if the general public seems quite to be quite happy.
They are focused on the 11 fundamentals of time management, and improving their overall skill by practicing each one at progressively higher levels. They are like professional athletes who isolate parts of their game, and spend hours eking out small improvements via structured practice, often with the help of a coach, but often by working just by themselves.
It’s what most people call “anal.”
But it’s just not like that if you are serious about improving. Instead, ut’s the price that must be paid for sustained achievement in any field.
Tiger probably spends very little time scouring the internet for easy, instant tips, and a lot of time in practice sand-traps perfecting his methods for digging out half-buried balls. In the sun, wind and rain.
The same applies to Grand Masters in chess, Grand Slam winners in tennis and top NASCAR drivers.
Time management is no different, and I see that part of my job in 2Time and MyTimeDesign is to provide a viable pathway for improvement for any professional who is serious, and willing to discover what habits they need to work on in order to take their game to the next level.
This is a trickier assignment for those who are already operating at high levels of accomplishment (i.e. Green Belts and above) but Zen speaks of a beginner’s mind that comes with superior achievement. I believe that the same applies to professionals who are ultra-productive and can manage a huge number of time demands — they don’t believe they have reached as they can see more clearly than others how far they still have to go.